As the world economy continues to reduce cultural and economic boundaries, it has become increasingly difficult to gain a complete and standard definition of a global company's products and customers. This challenge is especially true for companies with international manufacturing and distribution responsibilities.

A typical scenario might relate to product identification or SKU numbers. For instance, is the SKU number for widget 1 the same in countries A and B? If not, how can they be correlated so that both SKUs represent widget 1? Also, do multiple countries uniquely identify the same customer in a consistent manner? Although efforts are being made to enforce worldwide standards, it is often the case that each country or region has its "own way of doing things."

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